Yam Farmers Assure Nigerian Of Increased Production

Nigeria Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers Association have assured Nigerians of increased yam production in 2018 so as to boost the yam export initiative of the Federal Government.

The Acting President of the association, Prof Simon Irtwange, gave the assurance in an interview in Abuja on Monday.

He said farmers had been mobilised to increase their production in order to make provision for the local consumption and export requirements.

Irtwange, who is also the Chairman of the Technical Committee on Nigeria Yam Export Programme, said efforts were made to build the capacity of yam aggregators to buy exportable yams in large quantities from farmers after harvests.

He said yam exporters, instead of going to markets to buy yams, could procure the yams from the aggregators who already knew the standards for exportable yams.

He said the committee was partnering with the Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, for the production of seedlings of exportable yams so as to boost the production of the yams and encourage farmers.

“I will not agree that export has anything to do with the local production because not every yam variety can be exported.

“The ones that are exportable are the ones that meet export standards. The export requirements include 2kg. yams that are slender and smooth, while the non-export yams are purely for local consumption.

“We have also encouraged yam production; this year, we would have more output than what we had in the previous year because farmers are now sensitised and they have gone into massive production. So, there will be enough yams for the local market and export.

“We have already selected the yam varieties we want to promote for export but the seedlings for those varieties are the major challenge right now.

“So we have gone into partnership with Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike. They will produce the seedlings for us and IITA is also involved in the project.

“After production, we have aggregators who will off-take the yams from the farmers and will aggregate for the exporters,’’ he said.


Prices Of Food To Fall Soon: Ogbeh

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has given Nigerian hope concerning the prize of food in the country, promising that it will fall soon. He disclosed that the Federal Government will stop

He disclosed that the Federal Government will stop the importation of rice this year. Explaining the reason behind the policy, Ogbeh hinted that the country has enough internal production that can sustain home consumption and meet foreign exchange earnings that can guarantee diversification of the economy.

Audu Ogbeh In order to further boost internal production of the commodity and enhance the country’s comparative advantages in rice and yam production, Ogbeh stated that the federal government will sign a memorandum of understanding with Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) and Ekiti State Government in the two critical sectors.

“Of recent, prices of diesel increased from N130 pr litre to about N280, which makes the cost of tractors to move up to N14 million from N7 million. The interest rate on every loan given to farmers also went up, so the aggregate of all these factors caused an increase in the prices of food items. “We are concerned with the plights of Nigerians. We knew that many are hungry but we are working around it because it doesn’t speak well of us in government that people are hungry.”



Entrepreneurship In Yam Production

Nigerian entrepneurs have incredible potential to make agro business a  sector that fills a growing market niche and engages the youth. Olisaeloka  Peter Okocha and Samson Ogbole are prime examples. Their  determination and love of  agro innovations  have   led them to become  rising stars  selling  technologies  that  can  change  lives of food  processors. The two young entrepreneurs have established, PS Nutrac , a food technology  business, to  push an initiative   that  enables Nigerians  produce more than 1000 yams within a small space  for exports known as   aeroponics.

The technology enables farmers to plant yam in the air without the use of soil. The other advantage is that one can multipy,clean seed yam tubers in large quantities. They demonstrated the technology at Guiding Light Assembly, Parkview Estate ,Lagos.

As part of an effort to improve the production of high quality yam seeds, Okocha said the  company introduced aeroponics system ,the process of growing plants in air or mist-environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium to help more Nigeria making money from growing food using simple technology with their homes, plots  and  few acres  of land.

He  said his  ultimate objective is to  help  entrepreneurs  acquire  simple  technologies to produce  food within their homes, reduce post harvest losses, create  jobs, increase smallholder incomes, food safety and nutrition while  contributing to the Gross Domestic Product( GDP) through export earnings.

Okocha and his partner, Ogbole share a common goal in enabling entrepreneurs to grow their business and get connected to the market. Ogbole is a critical part of the vision to using  aeroponics to  boost agro entrepreneurs  to start  their  food production businesses.

Besides, observed the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan Oyo State under YamImprovement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) project.

During  his  service, he worked in tissue culture laboratory and aeroponics system.  After his service year, he was made a research supervisor as he took charge of the aeroponics  system.

He further established the system in Biocrops Centre, Abuja  and National Root Crops Research Institute(NRCRI), Umudike, Abia State. He also trained both private and public institute staff for aeroponics technology.

It is to his credit that the process  increased seed yam systems and developed best nutrient composition for seed yam production.

Speaking on investment opportunity, Ogbole said with N250,000 investment in yam production using aeroponics, one can  make N1,200,000 annually.

The PS Nutrac boss  revelaed  that   soilless yam propagation system increase the productivity of seed and reduce diseases.

According to him: “ People don’t plant yams with the vines, so we realised that we can do that and actually increase the multiplication ratio and now what we are doing is aeroponics. One plant can yield about 1,000 seeds’’, he added

Ogbole said a wide range of products centred on yam ‘are going to open up new markets  for entrepreneurs.

With the technology, he said it will be possible for individuals and businesses  to produce  thousands of yams within a small place.

He  said : “You can start  with  a 20 liters paint bucket and a small pump. Fertilizer can be organic or inorganic, and even when inorganic; you will need a 25kilo gramm bag to feed 2000 plants for five years before it is exhausted.”

He said there are opportunities for entrepreneurs to explore  yam production for income.  According to him, his organisation aims to train people on how to build and maintain systems where plants can be grown in the air. This means that everything from lettuce and tomatoes can be grown without soil and this can even be done indoors.

General Overseer, Guiding Light Assembly, Pastor Wale Adefarasin, said his church supports every initiative to promote job creation and youth entrepreneurship.

Source: The Nation